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The Barbarians are coming!

Races for the Senate, U.S. House, etc. and other issues of national importance.

The Barbarians are coming!

Postby Huckleby » Fri Jun 15, 2012 3:06 pm

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/15/opini ... think.html
I really urge you to read David Brooks' column today. I think he's done a beautiful job of encapsulating Republican thinking.

I see Brooks as the Prince of what remains of the moderate wing of the Republican party. What you can and should surmise from this piece is that the moderates have completely accepted the thinking of the Tea Party. Any differences are slight and tactical.

I think Mitt Romney, another moderate, actually believes that the Ryan Budget is the way to go. The Republican feel poised to cut the safety net, such as it is, way back.

They are feeling their oats. Walker & Cristy have neutered the public unions. Obamacare soon to be bitch slapped. The right is on a roll.

I hear some wimpering from the left that maybe we just have to go through a horrible period before working class whites get a sense of what is coming, and the electorate turns around. I never buy those arguments. I'd rather win this fall, thank you.

There could be some really shitty shit coming. They can change economic policy with simple majority in Senate, using reconciliation. IT is far simpler to break and trim government than to proactively address problems.
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Re: The Barbarians are coming!

Postby Crockett » Fri Jun 15, 2012 3:14 pm

Image

Do you honestly think services are that much better now? Are you really saying that the system doesn't need some targeted culling?
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Re: The Barbarians are coming!

Postby Huckleby » Fri Jun 15, 2012 3:23 pm

Crockett wrote: Are you really saying that the system doesn't need some targeted culling?

I can't evaluate your graph, especially since I've stopped trusting any data that isn't vetted for me by some source I trust.

But you are right, we are going to see some serious culling and cutbacks, and correctly so. Perhaps not right away, but starting in a couple years.

The current crop of Republicans are not willing to do a reasonable mix of tax increases and budget cuts. I don't call the Ryan Budget at all reasonable. In fact, for all the cuts to discretionary spending, it does a terrible job of addressing the debt. It's almost like Republicans don't care about the debt, they just want to repeal the New Deal and refashion government to their liking.
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Re: The Barbarians are coming!

Postby Stebben84 » Fri Jun 15, 2012 3:57 pm

Crockett wrote:Image

Do you honestly think services are that much better now? Are you really saying that the system doesn't need some targeted culling?


In 1950 there as a population of 150 million and in 2010 it was 308 million. Don't you think that with the increase of people there is an increase of city and government spending?

I agree that things need to get cut. Just no the things that the extremest believe in.
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Re: The Barbarians are coming!

Postby snoqueen » Fri Jun 15, 2012 4:10 pm

To the extent I can make sense of that graph, population increase does seem to be the likeliest cause of greater spending in terms of dollars.

I want to second the suggestion to read the Brooks column. I am not one of his regular fans because I don't see requiring citizens to risk everything when something goes wrong as a way to build a better nation, as he seems to think. Still, today he does a good service by offering an explanation of the different world views of R's and D's that seems genuinely perceptive given the limits of his own world view. A whole lot of it applies to what we see right on this forum.

He's pretty sure Europe is collapsing (or the Euro-zone, anyway) and that'll determine the results of our own fall elections.

I don't buy these kinds of mono-causal grand theories, but time will tell.
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Re: The Barbarians are coming!

Postby Huckleby » Fri Jun 15, 2012 4:37 pm

That is a completely odd and deceptive graph. The meaningful information is the ratio of public spending to private GDP. My eyeball tells me that the ratio stay relatively flat. But again, the only sensible thing to do is to ignore graphs that get posted in forums, because they come from sources that are presenting data in a way to suit an agenda.

If Europe tanks, Obama will surely lose the election because our economy will go into depression.
Brooks is adding a new twist: he says that trouble in Europe, even if not devestating, will lead Americans to focus more on the debt and vote Republican. Maybe.

BTW, I get furious when propogandists compare European spending to America's situation as cautionary tale. No comparison, our safety net is pathetic. Even in the virtuous, thrifty, thriving countries like Germany, they have universal health care. Glib right-wing analysts don't mention the underlying realities of where spending goes, they just want to cut social spending.
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Re: The Barbarians are coming!

Postby fisticuffs » Fri Jun 15, 2012 5:00 pm

Ryan couldn't find a nickel of cuts in our ridiculous defense budget. His plan is right wing social engineering and doesn't solve the deficit problems.
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Re: The Barbarians are coming!

Postby pjbogart » Fri Jun 15, 2012 7:12 pm

Back to the original post and David Brooks' editorial: while he lays out a fairly compelling case about the fundamental disagreements between Democrats and Republicans, its seems as though the musings of Republican intelligentsia have little or nothing to do with the average Republican voter. All I hear is talk about Kenyan birthplaces, assertions about death panels, union thugs, overpaid teachers, Planned Parenthood "abortion-plexes," etc.

If Republicans are engaged in a philosophical debate over an unsustainable welfare state, they're keeping their thoughts mostly to themselves. Perhaps they don't respect voters enough to let us participate in such an important conversation, so they keep us distracted with minutia like ACORN and "not-really-mosques-at-not-really-Ground-Zero."

And how exactly do attacks on unions, private or public, serve to dismantle our welfare state? I suppose the insinuation is that unionized workers who are overpaid must therefore consider a portion of their income "welfare." If I dicker with a car salesman to cut $1000 off the dealership's asking price, am I therefore receiving $1000 in welfare?

Maybe the question is: Have we created a welfare state that fails to encourage hard work? I'm willing to have that conversation, if you would be so noble as to include me. But if you're just going to shout at me about death panels and Kenyan grandmothers, I'll pass.

If you want to carry the torch, then by all means carry the torch. Don't use obfuscation and distraction to win the election and then toss the torch through my window.
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Re: The Barbarians are coming!

Postby Huckleby » Fri Jun 15, 2012 7:22 pm

yes, David Brooks gives his Tea Party brethern far too much credit.
Brooks has argued elsewhere that the WI recall was mostly an argument a referendum about balanced budgets.

Here in WI, we know different. The recall was full of demonization of teachers and public workers. An "us and them" war on "liberal elites" and "union thugs." And mostly Walker's agenda has been about raw political power.
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Re: The Barbarians are coming!

Postby Donald » Sun Jun 17, 2012 10:50 am

I think we all want to demolish the "welfare state." The problem is we can't agree on which welfare state to demolish.

The welfare state progressives would like to demolish involves the special favors done through tax and give away policies that favor the wealthy and corporations. Conservatives want to keep it in place, or expand this welfare system.

Solyndra represents the type of welfare that is given all the time to the corporate elite, which is, I assume, why the conservatives harp on this company and this sector of the economy only. They don't want it known that Solyndra is the norm, not the exception, and how it's their funders who skim most of the money.

Let's look at the most important industry after agriculture: energy. Conservatives want think the "free market" is going to produce energy, but we don't have "free enterprise" in the energy market. Most of the coal mined in the US is coming off federal lands, which is essentially given away. And it's even worse in the non-energy sector, where there isn't even a bidding process to rig.

Oil? The biggest subsidy, of course, is the US military, which secures oil shipping lanes and provides stability to friendly, but autocratic and undemocratic regimes.

Domestic production of oil? Let me give you an example that is illustrative of how the "market works." I own a small amount of inherited mineral rights in North Dakota. If this were a free market economy XTO, now a division of EXXON-Mobil, would not be sucking out my oil trough fracking, because I have not given them the right to do so. But the oil industry has manipulated laws so that I, as the owner, have no say over the mineral rights I own. I was "force pooled," which means I take whatever the company offers for the oil I didn't give them the right to extract. You will never see conservatives, or liberals even, fighting against the current welfare state in energy.
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Re: The Barbarians are coming!

Postby DCB » Sun Jun 17, 2012 11:57 am

Stebben84 wrote:
Crockett wrote:Image

Do you honestly think services are that much better now? Are you really saying that the system doesn't need some targeted culling?


In 1950 there as a population of 150 million and in 2010 it was 308 million. Don't you think that with the increase of people there is an increase of city and government spending?

According to the chart, the spending has grown by 14x, whereas the population has only grown by about 2x.
But without more details about the methodology, I don't think the chart tells us anything.
Over the past 50 years, the federal spending on states has decreased, which might explain why the states have had to make up the difference.
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Re: The Barbarians are coming!

Postby Galoot » Sun Jun 17, 2012 12:28 pm

That graph is highly misleading, and I suspect that a big part of that is the fact that it uses only "private GDP", for no good reason at all.

This one from wikimedia is fairly interesting, for comparison:

Image

It looks like federal spending from 1950 to 2010 roughly doubled as a percentage of GDP, with a fairly big rise since 2008 (which is fine, since we should be spending during a recession, and that spending provided many millions of jobs, as many as 4 million or more).

So what did we get for that spending? For one thing, a hugely bloated military, that I think could do fine on half as many dollars as it currently receives. But for another, we have drastically reduced poverty among the elderly since the 1960's, with the help of Medicare in particular.

We also accomplished some pretty major things with the environment--when was the last time a river caught fire in the U.S.?

We also sent a man to the moon (providing a huge number of technological spin-offs) and put unmanned rovers on Mars and sent Voyager out beyond the edge of the solar system.

In 1950, there was no interstate highway system at all. Was that worth increasing federal spending? Of course it was.

I have zero interest in "dismantling the welfare state", I'd like to see a first-world single-payer health care system implemented, which, by the evidence of countries who do have proper health care, could cut our health care costs in half.

The problem isn't that we're spending too much, it is that our taxes are lower than they were since before 1950. Raise the rates back to what they were when Reagan took office, implement higher taxes on companies that export jobs overseas, and you would see our economy grow like it was back in the 50's and 60's.
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Re: The Barbarians are coming!

Postby DCB » Sun Jun 17, 2012 1:26 pm

Donald wrote:I think we all want to demolish the "welfare state." The problem is we can't agree on which welfare state to demolish.

Nobody really wants to get rid of the "welfare state". Some people say they do, but they're lying.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/1 ... 1339767225
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Re: The Barbarians are coming!

Postby Cornbread » Sun Jun 17, 2012 9:41 pm

Huckleby wrote:http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/15/opinion/brooks-what-republicans-think.html
I really urge you to read David Brooks' column today. I think he's done a beautiful job of encapsulating Republican thinking.


"conservative" brooks in the leftist nytimes? :lol:

That first encounter is still vivid in Brooks’s mind. “I remember distinctly an image of--we were sitting on his couches, and I was looking at his pant leg and his perfectly creased pant,” Brooks says, “and I’m thinking, a) he’s going to be president and b) he’ll be a very good president.” In the fall of 2006, two days after Obama’s The Audacity of Hope hit bookstores, Brooks published a glowing Times column. The headline was “Run, Barack, Run.”


Yup, ol brookie, the in house mind your manners 'republican' will tell ya what conservatives/normal people think. :lol:

echo echo echo echo echo echo echo echo........
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Re: The Barbarians are coming!

Postby Huckleby » Mon Jun 18, 2012 6:45 am

Cornbread wrote:
Huckleby wrote:http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/15/opinion/brooks-what-republicans-think.html
I really urge you to read David Brooks' column today. I think he's done a beautiful job of encapsulating Republican thinking.


"conservative" brooks in the leftist nytimes? :lol:
In the very next sentence I stated that Brooks speaks for the dwindling moderate branch of REpublican party.
Hard to have a conversation if you won't be a teeny bit honest.

Cornbread wrote: Yup, ol brookie, the in house mind your manners 'republican' will tell ya what conservatives/normal people think. :lol:

echo echo echo echo echo echo echo echo........
You are not much for reading comprehension. I never suggested Brooks speaks for someone like you. I pray to God that you are not a "conservative/normal", but for sure there are Republicans who do not dismiss David Brooks or Mitt Romney as a leftist.
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